Category Archives: Environment

What is wrong with our system?

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Mayor Randy Hope poster boy for CANWEA

Letter to Editor|The Chatham Voice| Published February 12, 2018

Sir: Our illustrious mayor spoke on a local radio station recently responding to the opinion poll, in which the number one local concern was wind turbines and water wells concerns. His conclusion, in essence, was that they were not involved except for taking $1,575,000 in taxes from the 450 turbines with an average tax rate of about $3500 each per year.

I wonder how much taxes would be for an industrial plant that would have been built and cost approximately $2 million to build. Did the mayor, council and administration ever think that there might be a cost to this extra income? Did they ever consider using this money to do a thorough investigation of the effect on the aquifer? Did they ever go to see the difficulties experienced by those families living off water tanks, especially in the recent freezing weather?

Apparently, mayor, council and administration for Chatham-Kent are willing to trade rural water wells for that price. The people losing their wells must prove that there is a problem and then the municipality may look at a solution.

The mayor says that they take concerns seriously. That is the exact same B.S. statement made by Premier Wynne when she was in Chatham a couple of months ago and the mayor was looking over her shoulder. No one in government, provincially or municipally, has done anything constructive for years; when the first complaints were lodged in Dover Township in about 2009 and again in 2012.

What is wrong with this story?
If a bank is robbed, does the bank have to find the criminal and prove his guilt? Isn’t that what police do? If you are in a car accident caused by another person, do you have to pursue and prove the guilt of the offender? Isn’t that what police do? For every injustice, there is a third party whose duty it is to find the perpetrator and proof for the case against them. Since these third parties are no longer doing their jobs, are we reverting to the law of the old west?

In the case of the harm done to water wells and the standard of living for those with now contaminated wells, these agencies are not acting in the offended parties’ interests. There are many directions that fingers can point.

The provincial government, with its Green Energy Act, which is being used as an excuse by everyone as a document that overrules every other law in the land. This is not true as the health and safety of the citizens of this province still rule supreme, if our Ministry of Health, and local public health unit would get off their backsides and study health effects of the Kettle Point Black Shale that infiltrated our water wells.

I believe that somewhere in their health education process they were made aware that lead, mercury, arsenic and uranium are not to be used as vitamins. Why have they never run any comprehensive tests to find out what is in the water now and what are the health effects of those contaminants?

The Ministry of Environment and Climate Change is certainly the ministry that is supposed to protect the citizens of this province from anything that environmentally has a negative effect on the enjoyment and use of property, be that by health effects or any other source of irritation. The trouble with the MOECC is that it is the same ministry that issued the permits to build wind farms and are certainly not going to admit that they did not do “due diligence” before issuing these permits. Were there any studies done on possible problems with the style of foundations used in an aquifer sensitive area?

Then we get to our local mayor, council and administration. What have they done other than become shareholders in wind farms? Do they value the rural wells of Chatham-Kent at $1.5 million per year? Are they going to use this money to replace the water supply that has been lost by several known residents in the former Dover and Chatham Townships?

Are there other townships that lost their wells as well, even before the wind companies went to the pile driving method from spread foot of securing foundations? Was our local government blinded by the visions of a cash windfall without any expense?

I still have three questions that I would like to have answered:

~How much money was paid by the wind industry to individuals, political parties and the Ontario government for the privilege of building turbines in Ontario without interference?
~How much money was paid by the wind industry to individuals, and the municipality to become friendly hosts for turbine construction?
~How much money would it take to stop construction and operation of turbines until their negative impact on environment issues, especially water, are properly assessed by an independent party, since our politicians, local and provincial, obviously have not done “due diligence” prior to signing agreements?
Where can these questions be answered? Are elected representatives not supposed to answer to their constituents?

Peter Hensel

Dover Centre

Ministry using old science for a new problem

letters to editor

Letter to Editor| Published in Chatham Daily News| Feb. 8, 2018

I read in Monday’s Chatham Daily News online that the provincial environment ministry states that the turbine construction has not had a negative affect on water wells. This is despite the fact that residents were encouraged to have baseline water tests to compare with post-construction water quality. There are many wells that have had a long history of good water quality that were negatively affected at the time of or shortly after construction of the turbines as shown by water analysis post construction. This has become too common to be a coincidence.

It seems that the ministry is relying on the “science” that existed prior to this project to make their conclusion that there could be no effect on water wells. Perhaps they should look at the reality that exists today and do the work to figure out why there is a clear effect on many wells. They have that responsibility ­– it is clearly stated in the terms of reference of this project that any negative affect on water wells must be dealt with.

It is time for the ministry to fulfill their responsibility and hold the wind company to those terms.

Until that time they investigate fully why there is damage to residents’ water source and work towards a solution that serves local residents, the information they are spreading reminds me of the droppings of male cattle.

Bill Weaver

RR5, Dresden, Ontario

Scandal! EirGrid in the Crosshairs

~What happens when decisions concerning build out of electricity generation infrastructure has already been decided and public consultation done just for show?

~What happens when new extensions of the grid appear linked to facilitate the rapid and contested build of industrial wind turbines while ignoring cumulative environmental impacts

Members of the RTS Substation Action Group in Ireland  are taking action to protect their communities and have exposed the involvement of  EirGrid.  A huge substation is planned capable of accepting multiple wind facilities to the Irish electrical grid.   A substation that if built could impact clean drinking water for well over 8 000.   

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Ratheniska residents are claiming that they have exposed Eirgrid’s litany of failures and systematic corporate sharp practice. 

The Ratheniska, Timahoe, Spink (RTS) Action Group, when briefing Minister Denis Naughten, made a number of extremely serious allegations, which they backed up with a dossier of painstakingly accumulated evidence: 20170118 – Presentation to Ministers-For Issue

Aside from the long standing issues of site unsuitability, water source destruction and planning process corruption, the RTS Action Group claimed to have unearthed very serious transgressions by Eirgrid’s board of the code of practice for semi state bodies.

The evidence indicated that EirGrid had created “a short cut on the board“.  RTS Action Group explained that four members on the EirGrid Board had formed a “sub-board” and were “filtering information going to the board where they are now rubber stamping projects and funding on the basis of recommendation by this four member sub – board.”

If these allegations prove to be true, and the RTS Action Group are adamant that they are, then this constitutes an extremely serious breach of the code of practice, which should lead to a mass resignation of the EirGrid Board of Directors.

In a statement released after the meeting with the Minister, the RTS Group said:

“The RTS Group believe that Minister Naughten, who was accompanied to meet the delegation by his Cabinet colleague and local TD, Charlie Flanagan, had his eyes opened and was astonished by the import, nature, scope, scale and seriousness of the information being placed before him, for the first time.

This meeting arose from a promise made last June in the Dáil by Minister Naughten to visit the site of Eirgrid’s “unauthorised development” and the community who alerted the authorities to Eirgrid’s illegal building activities.

Our greatest concern is that the construction of Eirgrid’s unnecessary energy hub project will destroy and pollute the very necessary and only source of clean water for not just this community but for 8,000 Laois people. All of the evidence of how Eirgrid have conducted themselves up to now points to this eventuality, and we just can’t allow that to happen.
The political fallout from this semi-state operating with such a cavalier attitude to planning law, sustainable development, professional best practice, and corporate responsibility was that all three local TD’s and all Laois County Councillors were unanimous in calling for Eirgrid to cease the development.

We set out some of the evidence for the Ministers as to how Eirgrid have been deliberately deceiving us, the planning authorities, the other arms of state, and even the Dáil from the very outset of this ill-conceived project. This is not due to a few mistakes, or a few individuals making errors, but systematic deception through every phase of this development from its inception to illegal commencement. This evidence has been collected through in depth research and forensic examination. The community could not rely on what Eirgrid were telling us in the public domain throughout their sham consultation process. This damning dossier has been given to Minister Naughten, who as line Minister is ultimately responsible for Eirgrid, their conduct and corporate transparency and accountability.

The buck stops with him. He is now in full knowledge of the scale and scope of Eirgrid’s deception and disgraceful behaviour, we expect the Minister to reel Eirgrid in, to finally make them accountable for their actions on site and in their boardroom. He must move to scrap the project. On foot of today’s new revelations it is incumbent on the Minster to act, act promptly and decisively”.

The last word goes to the current Minister of Justice, who made the following statement after being briefed by the RTS Group:

“There has been a clear breach of law. The breach is sufficiently serious to abandon the project. I don’t believe there is any way back for EirGrid. They should pack up their machinery and should not come back.”

Source: The Law is My Oyster

Ontario Environment Ministry Sued

White Pines ERT & The People vs IESO & WPD

A call to action!

Your presence is requested in the seats at the upcoming Environmental Review Tribunal hearing against White Pines Wind and circumstances surrounding the IESO contract for the renewable energy approval.

Upcoming Court and ERT dates/times/locations:

APPEC legal action against the Independent Electricity System Operator (IESO) and WPD White Pines Wind Inc. will be heard on January 29, 2018 at the Belleville Court House starting at 2:00 pm.

Additionally, the hearing dates for the APPEC appeal to the Environmental Review Tribunal (ERT) have been confirmed as follows:

Pre-hearing Conference
January 24, 2018 at 10:30 a.m. at the Sophiasburgh Town Hall, 2771 County Road 5, Demorestville.

The purpose of the Pre-hearing Conference is for interested persons who would like speak at the hearing to apply for status either as a Party, a Participant or a Presenter. Please click here if you are interested in finding out more about seeking status at the hearing and click here to view the ERT Notice of Pre-Hearing Conference.

ERT Main Hearing
February 12, 2018 at 10:30 a.m. at the Sophiasburgh Town Hall.

The most effective way of showing the Superior Court and the Tribunal of the level of community concern with the White Pines wind project is with your presence.

Source: Alliance to Protect Prince Edward County

*To confirm dates and venue locations for any changes please contact the Environmental Review Tribunal *

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Noise Pollution & Birds with PTSD

Impacts of new noise from industrial wind turbines in our environment have created “habitat degradation” and have been an overriding issue in the fight to protect our families and environment. The response to the sound emitted from wind turbines is much more complex than how loud it is. There are reports globally of negative impacts due to exposure to wind turbines causing some families to abandon their homes for respite and relief. The following article highlights the impact of  industrial noise on birds resulting in measurable stress markers. Some birds become so stressed by noise pollution their response is similar to what is found in PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder).

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A western bluebird searches the ground from a perch. (Dave Keeling/California Polytechnic State University)

 

“The body is just starting to break down,” Lowry said.

To Lowry, the fact that humans respond to stress in the same manner as animals as distantly related as birds suggests that this response is ancient and deeply ingrained. And it raises questions about how humans handle exposure to unrelenting noise. The mother bluebird that nested near a compressor and was unable to leave when the sound became unbearable may not be so different from a low-income human family forced to rent an apartment near a flight path or loud industrial site.

The Washington Post|January 9, 2018|By: Sarah Kaplan

Some birds are so stressed by noise pollution it looks like they have PTSD

The bluebird didn’t realize what she was getting herself into when she chose her new home, about 75 yards from a natural gas compressor. It was only as the days and weeks wore on that the low whine of machinery started to take a toll. It was harder to hear the sounds of approaching predators, or even the normal noises of the surrounding world, so she had to maintain constant vigilance. Her stress hormone levels became skewed; her health deteriorated. She couldn’t resettle elsewhere, because she had a nest full of hatchlings to tend. Yet her chicks suffered too, growing up small and scantily feathered — if they survived at all.

Scientists couldn’t ask the bluebird what she was feeling. But when they sampled the bird’s blood, as part of a study of 240 nesting sites surrounding natural gas treatment facilities in northern New Mexico, they found she showed the same physiological symptoms as a human suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder.

“Noise is causing birds to be in a situation where they’re chronically stressed . . . and that has really huge health consequences for birds and their offspring,” said Rob Guralnick, associate curator of biodiversity informatics at the Florida Museum of Natural History.

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Frozen Water Tanks & North Kent Wind

Chatham Daily News| January 2, 2018|By: Trevor Terfloth

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Jessica Brooks, who has had issues with her water well, is shown with her frozen tank on Tuesday. (Trevor Terfloth/The Daily News)

Residents dealing with frozen tanks

Due to the bitter cold temperatures, residents near the North Kent Wind project found themselves without their temporary water source over the holidays.

Several water wells in the project area, currently under construction by Samsung Renewable Energy and Pattern Energy, have been clogged with sediments shortly after pile-driving took place for constructing the turbines.

Jessica Brooks, who lives on Brook Line with her husband Paul, had been dealing with a frozen exterior tank, which had been installed as an interim solution in the summer.

“New Year’s Eve, we had friends who were watching the house call us and say the water stopped running,” she said while her metal tank was being serviced on Tuesday.

Brooks said she was under the impression the tank wasn’t going to be needed for so long. She said there were problems with freezing at the outtake in the beginning of December.

“When I contacted both the Ministry of the Environment and Pattern Energy, nobody got back to me. We got it moving ourselves,” she said.

She had a bucket of well water with sediment in it that the family uses to flush the toilet.

“It’s just been frustrating,” she said. “We’ve been saying this (freezing) was going to happen.”

Kevin Jakubec, spokesman for the grassroots organization Water Wells First, said he’s aware of five households dealing with frozen tanks.

He said the problem could have been far worse if there was more snow.

“Imagine if we had a foot of snow,” he said. “If we have a blizzard, you are not going to get these trucks down these roads.”

In an e-mail to The Daily News, Pattern Energy stated it “received one report of a frozen tank this morning and the issue has been resolved.”

The company has maintained that the evidence doesn’t support the idea that pile-driving vibration has an impact on well water.

The Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change stated that North Kent 1 proactively supplied an alternative water supply to any complainant that had requested one, including bottled water for consumption and a water tank for all other domestic use.

“The company is responsible for addressing any concerns with the water supplies that have been provided, including addressing any issues related to freezing or access during snow events,” the ministry said.

“The ministry is continuing its review of well water assessment reports submitted by the company related to complaints over impacts during wind turbine construction. The ministry anticipates communicating the results of the ministry’s review directly with the well owners over the next few weeks.”…..

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Cherish Your Suffering

Rex Murphy: Cherish your suffering, Ontario; Premier Wynne’s green gods know of your sacrifice

Those outside the faith, and mere loitering agnostics, see nothing here but a catalogue of burdens. Shackles of an alien god. But to those within the covenant, they are the way stations on the hard and stony path to delicious rewards reserved for the elect.

National Post| January 6th, 2018|Rex Murphy

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Premier Kathleen Wynne

It cannot have escaped the attention of many that Ontario is most unsettled these days. That its industries are anxious, its debt colossal, its citizens not in a pleasant mood. Ontario is in a lot of pain. But let me assure readers outside Ontario that it has not all been for nothing. There are rewards. They are subtle, intangible, but they are real. Let me explain.

Those who share the faith and endorse the morality of global warming derive very much the same satisfactions that attended fidelity to the less demanding dogmas of earlier and less ambitious creeds. The carbon regime, tax hikes on gasoline, failed or failing long-term contracts, fear and trembling in the manufacturing sector, the gnashing of teeth in poorer (and now colder) households, Ontario Hydro’s ever-swelling levies, the despoliation of rural vistas by towers of whirling, bird-bashing windmills: These, each in itself, and all in combination are the acknowledged costs of the Great Greening.

Those outside the faith, and mere loitering agnostics, see nothing here but a catalogue of burdens. Shackles of an alien god. But to those within the covenant, they are the way stations on the hard and stony path to delicious rewards reserved for the elect. This is the true chemistry of belief. What appear as obstacles to heretics, appear to believers as smooth escalators to a higher state. Accepting, embracing what must be done supplies them with a sense of inner sanction, endows them with that peace of mind which a lesser scripture records, rather churlishly, as passing all understanding……

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Unexpected impact from wind turbine projects

Wingham Advance Times|January 5th, 2018|Letter to Editor

Dear Editor,

Issues with wind turbine projects continue to impact municipalities and residents in unexpected ways. In the early summer I attended a drainage meeting in Ashfield-Colborne-Wawanosh council chambers. This meeting concerned a drain extension for the Glenn municipal drain. The drain crosses road allowances that have underground electrical lines for the K2 Wind project. At this meeting the drainage engineer stated that a larger culvert would be required because the presence of these underground lines meant that work could not be done as deeply.

As a landowner affected by the proposed work, I asked the engineer how many crossings were involved and how much more this larger sized culvert would cost. No answer was provided. I then questioned why anyone else other than K2 Wind should be paying for this extra cost. Again, no answer was received.

At a second meeting on this project in December 2017, the engineer reviewed the final plans and stated that for the crossing of power lines on Tower Line, a larger culvert would be installed due to the depth problem. In the question period, I again asked how much extra cost this would add to the project. The engineer explained that the crossing was on road allowance so the township would be picking up the cost, not the individual landowners. But who does he think the landowners are, if not taxpayers who will all have to pick up the extra cost? So, yes, I am paying for this extra cost and so is every landowner in the township.

Our council brags about how they got community benefit money from the K2 Wind project. Yet, when they accept extra cost on projects like this, the township is essentially subsidizing the wind company from the general coffers. This undermines the benefit of any money received. Once again, the taxpayer gets shafted.

When a municipal council allows extra costs for such things as drainage works to be loaded onto the ratepayers, you have to wonder who they are really working for. So ratepayers in municipalities with wind turbines need to be on the alert for the hidden costs with these projects. Taxpayers already subsidize the wind turbines through inflated hydro rates. They shouldn’t be shafted twice with more hidden subsidies.

To date, my questions about additional costs and who is footing the bill for the extra work on this drainage project remain unanswered.

George Alton Kenruth Farms

Concerned Resident of Ashfield-Colborne-Wawanosh

Samsung “K2 Lake”: Water& drainage impacts during construction of K2 Wind Project in 2014